HP Stream 11 review – running Ubuntu 16

tldr; Not recommended for non-technical people. Not recommended as a primary machine. But if you want a small secondary laptop for travel and light work, and if you install Ubuntu on it, this laptop is a surprising treat (for the price)!

Update May 17, 2018:
With less than 32 GB hard-drive space, you’re going to fill this up quick. I did – and even after deleting unnecessary files, I still couldn’t free much more than 200 MB.

Then I stumbled across the command:

sudo apt-get autoremove

This cleared up over 7 GB! So if you’re running out of space on your tiny hard-drive, and you really can’t delete any more stuff, give that a try.

Update Feb 17, 2017:
After using this laptop longer, here are a few more notes:
– My main complaint is slow browser performance. If you’re doing a bunch of stuff in the browser (e.g., google-docs, google-slides), you should be prepared for some lag
– When doing a Google Hangout with a bunch of users on video, the machine and meeting lags like crazy. It’s not usable for a large group of users over Google Hangouts with the video on.

If installing a new operating system terrifies you (it’s actually not that hard), buy something else. If it does not, then this is a great little machine. I find myself using this little HP Stream more than my other powerful laptop. The utility of a physically light laptop is not to be underestimated.

Note that some reviews claimed that if you remove all the bloatware of it, this machine runs Windows fine. So you might get a decent Windows experience if you remove bloatware at the start.

Now what is this HP Stream 11 you might ask. Well it’s …

A light travel laptop

This machine is light in all the sense of the words. Physically, it’s a light machine; it’s tiny. Color-wise, it’s a light bright blue or purple. Spec-wise, it’s very light.

They should have called this HP Light 11.

But light can be good. Sometimes I want a light machine, one that I don’t care if it gets lost or stolen, or dropped and broken. With a light machine, I can fit it into a travel bag, and do some rough prototyping before pushing the code to more capable machines.

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